Ellen Jovin is variously described as a “linguaphile,” a “language-crazed writer,” a “grammar freak,” a “former freelance writer,” and a professional trainer specializing in communication skills. On the first of July in 2009, Ellen began an impressive language and culture project called “Words & Worlds of New York” with the goal exploring the myriad languages spoken in The Big Apple. In her own words, she started the massive undertaking because:

“I love languages, and I love New York. Also, it is possible I may be a wee bit compulsive. I had studied German, Spanish, and French in school, but I wanted to go more global this time. The initial plan was a year, but that soon became two years, which eventually became three years, then four, and now, nearly five years. The schedule has so far included 18 different languages involving a total of nine different alphabets and writing systems. I am plotting the nineteenth. Through my blog here, this site chronicles my linguistic adventures, some misadventures, and the mental and physical fallout of spending a lot of time outside one’s own alphabet and grammar. In 2013, I added a directory of learning-resource reviews for other people seeking to learn a new language or reinforce old skills. This site [EllenJovin.com] is intended to be a tribute to the joys of language learning, and to the extraordinary linguistic riches of my beloved adopted city and makeshift language-learning lab: New York.”

To date, Ellen has completed 3-month missions in the following languages and written over 1,000 pages of content:

  • Russian: July to August 2009
  • Arabic: September to October 2009
  • Italian: November 2009 to January 2010
  • Korean: February to March 2010
  • Spanish: April to May 2010
  • Greek: June to July 2010
  • Hindi: August to September 2010
  • German: October to November 2010
  • Japanese: December 2010 to February 2011
  • French: March to May  2011
  • Polish: June to August 2011
  • Hebrew: November 2011 to February 2012
  • Dutch: February to March 2012
  • Portuguese: July to October 2012
  • Mandarin: November 2012 to April 2013
  • Irish: May to June 2013
  • Yiddish: July to August 2013
  • Persian: May to August 2014

Ellen has a wonderful sense of humor (and a great deal of patience for my corny jokes!) and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her about all things language. I hope you enjoy listening to the conversation as much as enjoyed recording it:

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Make sure to check out Ellen’s excellent website, EllenJovin.com, for an extensive range of language product reviews.

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